FILE - Surgery hospital operation doctor

(The Center Square) — After more than an hour of sometimes contentious debate, the Georgia House Public Health Committee passed an amended bill on Tuesday that would restrict certain surgical procedures on minors for gender dysphoria.

Senate Bill 140 would ban any gender dysphoria-related surgical procedures and hormone replacement therapies for those under the age of 18.

It is now headed to the House floor for a vote.

Democrats attempted to short-circuit the debate by asking for a motion to adjourn before SB140 could be considered, but Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, refused to accept the motion.

State Sen. Carden Summers, R-Cordele, presented SB140 that he authored.

“We tried to be as liberal in our thoughts as possible that this bill could work for everyone,” Summers said. “The bottom line of this bill is that it makes a pause for young people. We don’t want people under the age of 18 to have gender surgeries.”

He also said the bill allows for the administration of puberty-blocking medication for those under 18, but he thinks a study committee on the effects of these medications by the General Assembly is warranted.

State Rep. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, said the bill was not in line with the current science and policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics when dealing with “gender-diverse” children.

“I don’t want children to have surgeries that permanently affect them,” Summers said when asked by Au if the bill went against the science and policy of the AAP.

The committee amended the bill by removing a section that gave immunity to physicians from lawsuits related to their compliance with the bill if it becomes law, but kept in language that would allow the state’s Composite Medical Board to sanction physicians for violating the law.

Both the amendment and the final passage were by party-line 12-10 votes.

The bill passed the Senate on March 6 by a 33-22 vote. 

Regional Editor

Steve Wilson has been an award-winning writer and editor for nearly 20 years at newspapers in Georgia, Florida and Mississippi and is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and University of Alabama graduate.